Closer to elections, preparations are running faster, and one starts feeling that country is in election mood. Parties continue campaigning, the country is full of billboards with parties promising better future. Debates between candidates in different formats became an innovation of this campaign in Kyrgyzstan. This week young candidates from all political parties were debating on a variety of issues showing their political priorities and values. Next week will be marked with women’s debates contributing to the promotion of women’s participation in elections, following by the debates of parties’ leaders scheduled for the election week. The Central Election Commission (CEC) started to print ballot papers for the parliamentary elections.
The Central Election Commission continues to conduct an informational and go to vote campaigns. Special attention is paid to the young people who will be voting for the first time and for whom it would be a new experience which will play a crucial role for their future habits to participate in the governance of the country. The CEC assisted by the UNDP in the framework of the Kyrgyzstan Electoral Support Programme supported by the governments of Germany, Japan and Switzerland, produced a public service announcement focusing on youth participation in elections in Russian and Kyrgyz languages.
The CEC with the support of UNDP and IOM and the government of Switzerland continues informational campaign among Kyrgyz citizens leaving abroad with weekly meetings of the CEC Chairperson with diaspora’s leaders, sharing infographics on how to be registered as a voter abroad and how to vote abroad. In addition, an interactive map of the polling stations abroad was launched this week assisting migrants to find the polling station. Despite all the difficulties with deploying the mobile voter registration teams consisting of representatives of the CEC, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and State Registry Service supported by the UNDP and the government of Germany to Russia and Kazakhstan due to closed borders and absence of regular flights with Kyrgyzstan that required complex negotiations with governments of these countries to make this happen, 7 mobile teams were working this week in 20 cities of Russia and Kazakhstan collecting biometric data, registering citizens in the consular register to be included in the voter list abroad and explaining how to vote abroad. Of course, the biggest number of migrants attended the meetings in Moscow where the biggest number of Kyrgyz citizens reside. In total mobile voter registration teams covered 5 countries and 31 cities, the data of the number of voters included in the voter list will be available next week after the deadline for the requesting corrections to voter list and processing all the applications.
The CEC supported by UNDP and the government of Germany continues to combat the vote buying. This week a new challenge on social media “Do not sell your vote” was launched addressing the youth across the country do not sell the vote and to film a one-minute video and post it on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter with hashtag #добуштусатпа and #непродавайголос to address other young people do not sell the votes. The campaign will last till October 2 and will finish just before the silence period starting at 8 am on October 3. Three winners whose posts will get the biggest support of the social media users will be awarded with tablets.
This week the discussion on women’s participation in elections continued with the Country Director of International Foundation for Electoral Systems in Georgia Keti Maisuradze who shared experience on women’s leadership in Georgia from the Queen Tamar to the current female President of Georgia. Keti explained that in Georgia gender talks started with the support of the international organizations which led the discussion at the initial stage. She acknowledged that the electoral systems are benefiting from the introduction of gender quota allowing women to enter the Parliament. Keti also highlighted the unfortunate practice of women who don’t want to vote for other women which should be changed.
Election observation plays a crucial role in the election process contributing to the electoral transparency and integrity of the electoral process ensuring the legitimacy of the elected authorities. International and citizen observers conduct an independent and unbiased observation of the electoral process in the interest of all voters and providing critical analysis of it. This year the international observation of the electoral process is performed by two international observation missions – one from the OSCE ODIHR and one from the Commonwealth of Independent States accompanied with the citizen observation conducted by a number of citizen observer organizations. On September 23, the CEC with the support of the UNDP, conducted a briefing for the international and citizen observers updating on the progress of the preparations to the elections and explaining the electoral procedures. Particular attention was paid to the credibility of the electoral process ensured by the introduction of biometric voter identification securing the principle “One voter – one vote” and automatic ballot box scanners safeguarding the accuracy of the vote counting and fast announcing of the preliminary results of the elections. And, of course, this week was marked with publishing the interim report of the OSCE ODIHR Limited Election Observation Missions available in English, Russian and Kyrgyz languages presenting comprehensive overview of the electoral process so far.
The CEC supported by UNDP continues trainings of civil society and media representatives on campaign finance transparency, of civil society organizations on election dispute resolutions and of operators of the biometric voter identification equipment.